To Love or To Leave

We've all been there… some more than others… difficult situations enter relationships and a choice has to be made: to love or to leave?

I recently watched a video on a social media stream of a man exclaiming how certain he was that he was capable of "loving from afar" if the relationship was not healthy enough to survive. His point being, I can love you AND leave you. The two are not mutually exclusive. Many tend to agree with this notion, but I know many people who don't.

This can apply to many different scenarios where cracks can develop in the solid union of two people:

  • Being in a relationship that is suffering challenges of respect or communication.

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  • Relationships where one or both people feel undervalued or unappreciated.
  • Starting a new relationship with someone who seems to still be attached to an ex.

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  • Relationships where loyalty or trust is questioned or broken.
  • Being in a relationship that is lacking fulfillment for one or both partners.

In any of those scenarios, one or both parties may be struggling with the decision of whether to love or to leave – and whether those are one in that same. Additionally, there may be a difficulty in how love is defined or demonstrated and the ability for one or both individuals to healthily reduce or eliminate their involvement in the other's life if a decision is made to part ways.  There may be a need or a tie that binds that overcomes the logic of a decision to break up.

Being in a relationship and feeling alone… Is it better to have loved and lost, than to never have loved at all?

Many of us guard that word "love" with all our might. Protecting ourselves (or so we think) from giving it to someone undeserving. Some of us love hard and fast, and freely opening ourselves up to any/all possibilities of success (as we see it), or heartache (as other may see it).

Some are so entangled with another person that they define their love by being available to, accessible to, and involved with the other person's life, trials, tribulations, challenges, and triumphs.  How they demonstrate love is by being there for them, to solve their problems, to be the savior in a time of need, their haven or place of peace, or to fill a void. As such, they're incapable of distinguishing between love and mistreatment when the honor is not reciprocated or when the situation is unhealthy for their future.  Additionally, and most unfortunately, they're incapable of seeing that situation as a detriment to their livelihood. They're unable to leave because they define that level of separation as an act contrary to the love they feel. In essence, they become blinded by their own emotion and place the beloved ahead of their own betterment. Unfortunately, this could lead to realizing the negative impact too late, and a field of regrets along the way.

Amy Winehouse – Back To Black

Some are easily able to distinguish between a love for self, and a love for another, and the risks associated with staying in a challenged situation. These individuals are able to love someone else while creating healthy separation, or overall vacancy in the other person's life.

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These people are able to evaluate and forecast risks, and see the potential detriment to their own well-being as it related to their involvement or affiliation in the other person's life and what that may impose upon the future. These people are able to cut ties when the risk outweighs the benefits, or when the involvement in the other person's life impacts their own ability to live happily. They are able to remain safely engaged until such time as it is time to leave completely.

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Every situation is unique and every person's tolerance level, for various challenges, differs. Here's a few tips to help navigate through that process balancing emotional and logical decision making:

  1. Look at the big picture, prioritize what matters to you in a relationship.
  2. How does this relationship align with the future you intend for yourself?
  3. Is the challenge your ego, or the other person?
  4. Are there extenuating circumstances or risks?
  5. Is this about your personal growth or the growth of the relationship you want with someone else?
  6. Is your life better /easier/harder with/without this person?
  7. Have you communicated with your partner your answers to that above, and heard their answers?
  8. Are you listening to respond, or are you actively hearing them out?

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For those on the opposite side of the spectrum,

Option 1: Being honest about your detrimental impact on the one who loves you and extricate them from your life if you are unwilling to adjust toward a compromise, since they aren't strong enough to come to terms themselves - You Know I'm No Good

Option 2: Come to terms with the underlying motive of your presence and decide upon a way to cope together - Just Friends

Option 3: Acknowelege you both are unhealthy for each other in your current state and work through your dilemmas exclusively – What It Is

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The thing about love … it is a risk, and you've got to give it all you've got to really see it flourish if it ever will.  It is a win you'll never achieve if you don't leap. But the feelings will linger whether you choose to leap or not. It is unavoidable, you can't run from it. You can try to block it out or distract yourself, but there will be moments when you feel it and there's nothing you can do about it except choose to pursue it or fight it. Either way, the outcome is unknown.

Navigating through it when challenges are present in new or established relationships can be equally difficult. As always, we encourage informed decision making and sound judgement. You can't win if you don't play, but you don't have to play every game every time. Nothing worth having comes easily.

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